Study Tour

Congressional Staff Study Tour
South Africa and Zambia
February 13-22, 2015

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is proud to sponsor a Congressional staff study tour to South Africa and Zambia to examine how locally and internationally funded capacity building efforts and partnerships contribute to strong, sustainable health systems and the advancement of country ownership. The study tour will occur during the February 2015 President’s Day congressional recess.

This trip will be an opportunity for participants to see firsthand the impact of US funding on international development, with a particular focus on capacity building through pharmaceutical management and technical and managerial development opportunities for local health workers and regional civil society organizations. Through site visits, panels and roundtable discussions, participants will better understand how this work advances the USAID Forward international development agenda, which emphasizes working with local governments and empowering local entities to establish true partnerships that will create conditions where foreign aid is no longer necessary.

Beyond examining US-funded activity in each country, delegates will learn about local government-led initiatives and gain a better understanding of what each country’s government “brings to the table” in terms of leadership, funding, resources and partnerships for health.

International development, with a focus on global health, is a key component of US national security and foreign policy. Through initiatives like PEPFAR and USAID Forward the US is working with local organizations in the Southern Africa region to promote capacity development, build new effective and long-term partnerships and reduce the need for foreign aid over time.

USAID Forward is an ambitious reform agenda undertaken in an effort to embrace new partnerships, invest in the catalytic role of innovation and focus on results. Taken together, the reforms have formed the foundation of a new model for development; one that can represent the best of American ideals abroad, while advancing the security and prosperity of Americans at home. A key component of USAID Forward to ensure long-term sustainable development is the Local Solutions initiative, which aims to shift program implementation from US-based and international organizations to partner-country organizations, including government, private and civil society organizations.

PEPFAR is the largest component of the U.S. President’s Global Health Initiative, focused on smart investments to prevent and treat HIV & AIDS and other diseases across the global health spectrum. Currently PEPFAR is transitioning from its initial emergency response to a sustainability model that accelerates US and host country efforts to achieve durable and effective national HIV & AIDS responses, with an emphasis on prevention over the next five years. This next phase of PEPFAR will support countries in reassessing prevention portfolios to ensure that they are targeted for maximum impact. Furthermore, each country’s sustainability plan will focus on how to shift the PEPFAR-funded HIV response toward the four dimensions of country ownership: political ownership and stewardship, institutional and community ownership, capabilities and mutual accountability.

MSH implements a number of US government-funded projects in Southern Africa. MSH provides technical assistance in South Africa to strengthen health services with a particular focus on primary health care, district development, leadership development, management information systems, family planning, orphans and vulnerable children, medicines supply and pharmaceutical services, and priority health programs such as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis. This has been done with funding support from USAID, CDC, the Global Fund, and in close collaboration with the National Department of Health. The MSH approach has been to build local capacity of national, provincial and local decision makers, and transfer knowledge.

MSH opened its first office in Zambia in 2000 and has an established, positive working relationship with the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH); the National AIDS Council (NAC); the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFTAM) Country Coordination Mechanism; USAID, PEPFAR, and its implementing partners; and other key stakeholders including the private sector. Until June 2014, MSH had more than 20 staff and presence in six of ten Provinces. MSH has provided technical guidance and assisted in strategy development and program implementation both in improving the availability of safe, effective health commodities of assured quality and cost such as pharmaceuticals, and in promoting the appropriate use of these commodities in the public and private sectors at the community level.

On this trip we will meet with civil society organizations that have graduated from MSH’s BLC project and other programs funded through PEPFAR to learn how funding is implemented to address major challenges like HIV & AIDS and chronic diseases (CDs), improve health outcomes and contribute to a strong, sustainable locally-owned health system. We will also learn more about the impact of local partnerships, innovative strategies for pharmaceutical management and the potential for improvement and scale-up.  The delegates will engage in briefings, site visits and interactive panels with local implementers, civil society leaders, the private sector and the local governments; they will come away with an increased understanding of the progress made and challenges still faced in both South Africa and Zambia, and how such issues affect the state of health in the greater southern Africa region and sub-Saharan Africa.

Desired outcomes:

  • Participants will understand the roles of civil society organizations, public-private partnerships and the local government in building and sustaining strong health systems at all levels to addresses major health challenges like HIV & AIDS and chronic diseases
  • Participants will understand the practice of capacity building and how country-led and country-owned programs create sustainable health systems
  • Participants will meet global health donors, civil society organizations and private sector partners
  • Participants will understand the components of and innovative strategies to achieve a sustainable health system, including pharmaceutical management

Participants will examine integrated service delivery models for global health challenges